Sapphire Rebellion – Pocketful of X-Rays

The Cover?

Well, it might not be as impressive as I’d want it to be, but it’s OK since it’s their first CD. However, I noticed something cool about the cover and that’s how it blends the colors together and reflect the light from my computer-screen onto the jewel-case, creating a wide oval of rainbow-colored delight. With blue and purple tint on the edges, switching to a blend of yellow, cyan and almost red color the closer you come to the middle of it. If this was done on purpose or not, I don’t really know, but it enhances the feature. In theory, it could be a distraction from the bland cover, making it an even more fascinating experience. The back looks almost the same, but with a squash of colors differentiating between sulky and bright colors. Almost psychedelic, to a degree.

Radio Commander (2:31)

Pretty self-explanatory, eh? The first song Radio Commander has a pretty straight-forward intro, with some snare-drumming and suddenly an alarm goes of. I don’t really know whether I’m in the Gothic realm or on the outskirts almost on the verge of standard rock or pop. I’m not particularly fond of the alarm going off in a moments notice and the “flapping” sound that crawls around in the background. However, I like the vocalists voice and it fits the sound-scape as a whole. It may not be the most advanced of sound-scapes I’ve heard, but somehow I like it anyway. It adds up in the end with all the similarity of the instruments, hopefully the next song will escalate into something bigger, more majestic or advanced structure-wise. So, the singer saves this song with his voice. But there’s certainly something missing, it sounds pretty empty as a whole unit. Even though it may not be a masterpiece lyrically, the lyrics actually make the song more enjoyable to listen to.

Hot Little Number (2:33)

Now, let’s hop onto the next song on this album. Time for the song Hot Little Number. A little bit more of an intriguing and escalating intro, which leaves me wondering who the singer sounds like. With that in mind, I’d say that his voice is pretty unique in a way I can’t pinpoint. Almost a kind of male Diva Destruction, with the shadowy synth waddling around in the background. Holding together the sound-scape much better than the first song, at a time before the chorus I’d think it’d be a bland rock-song but the riffs also manage to glue the components together and make them enjoyable. This would be a strong number of it’d go viral in any way or shape, catchy but with a slight hint of darkness appropriate for the underground. I just want the singer to burst out and demonstrate what he goes for, it feels somewhat hindered and lowly in a way or another. It might not be the longest song either, it’s easy to listen to but at the same time vague and mystical in some passages. But a bigger improvement is not to be frowned upon, if this track would’ve been the first track on the album, I think it would’ve increased the enjoyability and stability for the opening section of the record.

No Memories Of Angel (3:21)

So, track number three is a bit longer. It’s called No Memories Of Angel. The introductory of this song reminds me a lot of the 80’s, they’ve found my weakness. Or should we say: what I like the most. It reminds me of the good old days with the Swedish synth-pop (at times experimental) band Ratata, if it’d be blended with some kind of cyber-gothic of the 21th century. However, I’m not too fond on the chugging rock-themed riffs that appear in this song, it kind of puts it off and lays it on the shelve in misplacement. If they would’ve thought of adding a little bit more gothicly-sounding riffs in the background at these sections of the song, it would’ve been great. The synth-arrangements in this song surpasses any of the earlier songs on this album, I like the synth-solo that comes on stumbling in, it reminds me of the late 70’s more psychedelic and extravagant solos that you don’t hear too much of in synth-driven and/or traditional gothic rock. The bouncey and distorted bass kind of drives me insane, since it makes me think of post-punk. But that’s just a plus, since I love that genre so much. If it’d only be a little more concentrated and involved into the sound-scape than the chugging riffs, I’d be forever grateful.

What I Meant (3:05)

Ok, now I’m stumbling right into the more ballad-oriented section. Starting off with the fourth song called What I Meant. A more bohemian approach and folky-sounding piece than gothic. And a large hint of pop, maybe not the singer’s best outfit. It actually becomes a lot better the more you get into it, but I don’t really like the beginning of it. With flutes and other instruments not shown off earlier, it gives a kind of multi-facetted face to it all. The further in, the more flow in the singer’s voice and a more synchronized, but moving pattern which might not be as predictable. I like the unpredictability, since it holds up the earlier parts of the song and squashes them down where you can’t see nor’ hear them anymore and that’s just positive.

X-Ray Eyes (2:38)

Once again, around the two-minute and forty second median of the record. The fifth song on the album. A more inspirational movement is noticed in this song, the chorus employ a Victorian-feeling to it, that would’ve been a great addition if it’d be developed a bit further. It’s a little bit more minimalistic than the other songs, employing both the stunning minimalism of synths and rock. However, somewhat lacking in the drum-department and there’s something missing in this sound-scape. The moving and pulsating snare-drum sounds grandiose and when fitted in with the somewhat Victorian theme.

Why Me? (2:52)

The sixth song Why Me make a turn for the worse. As the synth-arrangement in this song sounds misplaced and doesn’t complement the rest of it. Lyrically, it’s not a hard-hitter either. It’s hard to describe it, but a lot of elements in the song make it bland and don’t mix well together. A pretty weak component in an otherwise OK arrangement of songs, maybe not the best placed either. If this had come earlier, I might’ve had higher hope for the last two songs. This is not how they should be doing it, I actually miss the components that made the other songs stronger. However, I won’t be too mean though, the chorus is OK in this song.

This Day Will Pass (3:50)

Head straight on to the seventh song This Day Will Pass. I don’t think the intro is that good to be honest, but when the drumming in the background comes into the equation and the angel-like choir it takes a different turn. Showcasing a deeper sense to Sapphire Rebellion. Something they should’ve drawn out and mixed into the other songs too. They have a potential which can be used, as I clearly hear in this song. Almost like a neo-classical approach with gothic undertones that isn’t showing a weakness. One of their strongest cards yet, played out very well. Lyrically, it’s also one of the better songs on this album. I like how it turns from the root of the gothic-sounding entirety and pluck in some progressive rock elements into the potpurri.

See Her Again (3:17)

Last track on the album named See Her Again. Again, maybe not one of their strongest cards lyrically, but a good contender to the ending of this record. I like the almost Depeche Mode-sounding synth that pave it’s way uncontrollably throughout, helped out with a deeper baseline (thanks!) and a more efficient sound-scape that bring out everything Sapphire Rebellion is about or could end up being. Well played, a good situated track that would make up for the earlier mistakes a little bit at least. They’ll hopefully continue to develop and seek their sound, but I like the fattening of the sound-scape in this song and the more fatter sound to a lot of the instruments. It’d be an even greater ending if the singer tried to take out all of his vocal-power and seal the coffin completely. Just a little gothic-reference for you, but a better craftsmanship at least.

Favorite track(s): No Memories Of Angel and X-Ray Eyes.

Final score: 5.5/10

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